Most people I know have watched The Dark Knight Rises – and like with its predecessor, The Dark Knight, there has been lots of talk about its main characters on the internet. While there are countless debates and analyses [link] about who the greatest villain is – the Joker or Bane – there are also some discussions which focus on Bane’s most noticeable feature: his mask.
People seem primarily interested in the reason why he needs a mask – and the most common explanation is to control his level of pain, so that he can function. That’s where most debates end – he needs it for that, makes sense, got it. Also, this is part of the official storyline, which means that it is part of the official character concept.
Recently, however, I must have been somewhat bored because the following thought popped into my mind: how does Bane actually eat with his mask? In order to confirm that I am still sane I checked the internet again to see whether other people also thought about this – and they did!
As silly as this little story may sound, it did make me think about the following: How dangerous is it to have a concept or product evaluated solely by people who are intimately involved in designing it? If you have spent a very long time building something your reasoning is structured in a certain way – and will most likely support the current logic and design of whatever it is you are building. You have got a case of insider’s myopia!
Something similar might have happened when the movie character Bane was designed – I think the folks simply did not think about the question how he eats, or at least I have not heard any official statement on the matter.
So what does that mean for your product designers or business strategists? Simple: Every now and then you should show your current draft version to an outsider (i.e. not a member of that team and not impacted by its success or failure) and ask them what they think. I have done this many times and almost always got a comment or question which was completely new to me.